How “enviro” were Tuesday’s votes?

November 7, 2008 at 5:45 am | Posted in Climate and politics | 1 Comment
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After two long years of electioneering, the American political climate seemed to change in a moment on Tuesday night when Barack Obama became the next president-elect of the United States. 

And although he won’t officially take the reins until January, world leaders are already calling for him to act fast on climate change. 

On Wednesday, The Globe and Mail reported that Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is “proposing to strike a joint climate-change pact” with Obama.  Such a pact could establish common standards for carbon emissions trading systems, and meet some of U.S. energy demand with supplies from oil sands in Ottawa. 

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Germany’s Foreign Minister called for Obama to work closely with Europe to tackle climate change at a conference today. 

While international cooperation will be critical to deal with climate change, cooperation between the White House and Congress, as well as with state-level officials across the country, will be equally important.

So, now that America will soon have a president who is likely to act on climate change, will it have a Congress and state leaders who are ready to do the same?

It’s not a question with an easy answer.  But a new Web site, Envirovote, takes a first step toward assessing what the new political climate will mean for the world’s natural climate. 

The site is tracking gubernatorial and U.S. congressional races across the nation, and as the results continue to come in from Tuesday’s votes, rating what they mean for the environment on a “green meter.”

It’s the work of two journalism students – Ryan Mark and Brian Boyer – at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.  To create the meter, which currently tabulates that 248 of Tuesday’s 458 winners have green credentials, the pair tallied how many of the winning candidates were endorsed by environmental groups. 

Then, they compared the numbers of greenies elected to previous election years.  Currently, it sits at an 18 percent increase over the last election cycle, with 23 races still outstanding. 

The site also has a stand-alone green meter for each of the states, and highlights the results for a few key races. 

All in all, it’s a great way to aggregate the environmental impact of the election. 


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  1. […] AcClimate: How “enviro” were Tuesday’s votes? « New York Times VP Debate Interactive Leave a Reply […]

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